A Fable, William Faulkner, Random House Inc, 1954, 437 pp
In my humble opinion, ever since William Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in 1949, his writing went steeply downhill. This novel, published in 1954, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1955. I found it nearly incomprehensible.
After 100 pages, I went to Google in desperation. As I should have guessed from the title, it is an allegory which juxtaposes WWI and the Christ story. OK. Fine. There is a story with characters buried deeply inside Faulkner's longest sentences ever, but I found it hard to care.
Some soldiers decide to mutiny one morning by refusing to fire their weapons and actually stop the war for a week or so. Among the characters are an instigator or two; a strange trio of women keep showing up; I was pretty sure I figured out who the Christ figure was; but it was hard going, even for me. Some books are just meant to be read in school.
Actually I could glean that Faulkner was grappling with some big ideas about war, its causes, what makes men become soldiers, what makes them fight, and the power of a few individuals to put a stop to it all by just refusing to play. I settled for that.
(A Fable is available in paperback by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)